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Analytical for Reel Injun directed by Neil Diamonds - Essay Example

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The 2009 documentary film, Reel Injun: On the Trail of the Hollywood Indian, written and directed by Neil Diamond, Catherine Bainbridge and Jeremiah Hayes, depicts various stereotypical images and roles of the native Americans as presented by Hollywood cinema at different times…
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Analytical essay for Reel Injun directed by Neil Diamonds
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"Analytical for Reel Injun directed by Neil Diamonds"

Download file to see previous pages instances from several films, Diamond interviews various actors, filmmakers, critics, historians and activists to analyze the portrayal of native society and culture in those films. He argues that first appearance of Indians in films of the silent era such as The Silent Enemy was quite heroic and dignified. However, this image of the Noble Injun soon transforms into the Savage Injun in the 1930s. For decades, films such as the Stagecoach depicted them as barbaric, violent and treacherous, and white actors such as Charles Bronson and Elvis Presley took over the role of the real Indians. From 1960s onwards, films such as One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Dances with Wolves proved to be positive steps in restoring the Indians’ image to some extent. However, it was not until the renaissance era when films such as Smoke Signals and Once Were Warriors significantly helped to realize the true image of the native people (Reel Injun).
Reel Injun is a clear demonstration of the role Hollywood films have played in distorting the true cultural identity of the Native Americans worldwide. It was astonishing to learn that some of the most popular films in the Hollywood filmmaking history continuously succeeded in portraying false image of the native Indians for decades. Although it seems too succinct to represent the entire film history and provided the fact that many films depicting Navajo people such as Windtalkers were not included, the documentary provides with considerable insight for learning the various stereotypes portrayed by Hollywood cinema. The depicted positive or negative stereotypes such as Noble Injun, Groovy Injun, Drunken Injun, Savage Injun and Plain Injun are in strict contrast with the actual ways of the Native Americans. Since the silent era, Hollywood films not only attempted to manipulate their original roles, but also distorted facts about their lifestyle. For instance, the language and headbands depicted in the films were falsely associated with the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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